Property Development


Business Rates Savings of 40% – £200,000

The Client
Meritas Holdings - Kindom of Bahrain. 
The client had purchased a site in Westminster London for redevelopment into luxury flats. The site had accommodated an old school now demolished plus additional buildings all with separate assessments which totalled in excess of £250,000 rateable value.
The Request
We were instructed in 2017 after receiving a panicky call to say bailiffs were demandingV 100’s of thousands of pounds in unpaid rates dating back to 2012. It transpired that, the client did not realize when they purchased the site in 2012 that notwithstanding all the buildings were empty there was still an ongoing rate liability per year of over £125,000. By 2017 this had reached over £500,000! But due to the rate demands being sent to an old PO Box in Bahrain, the first the client knew about the debt was when the bailiffs turned up at the site.
The Result
There were a number of issues here. The first was whether the date of deletion used by the Valuation office was correct ? Secondly, were the original assessments correct? Under rating Law a building can be deleted when the scheme of works starts. That is usually when stripping out works commence. Using Google street view we were able to prove that the site was fenced off over 9 months prior to the deletion date used by the Valuation Office. In addition we successfully argued that, even though the buildings were gone, that the assessments in place were out of line with the general tone in the area. We agreed a further reduction on all assessments of over 30%. We also managed to persuade Westminster City Council to back date the reductions to 2012 and also refund the bailiff fees. All in all it resulted in a £200,000 saving to the client.